Since 2015, The Atlanta Women’s Foundation has invested $500,000 in the Promoting Women’s Mental Health & Wellbeing Project with the support of the Kaiser Permanente Foundation of Georgia. The goal of the project is to increase mental and behavioral health services provided to women living at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines (For a family of 3 that is an annual income of $40, 320.). By addressing the mental health needs of women impacted by poverty, this project addresses a major challenge that prevents women served by our grantees from obtaining and maintaining stable housing, education and employment. The project has provided culturally competent mental and behavioral health services to a variety of underserved populations of women across Atlanta, facilitating the integration of primary care with mental and behavioral health services.
The Promoting Women’s Mental Health & Wellbeing Project has overwhelmingly benefited the women that the project’s grantees serve. Since the project was launched, we have exceeded three of the two-year impact goals in year one.
Lastly, the grantees supported through the Promoting Women’s Mental Health & Wellbeing Project have leveraged the project’s support to secure additional funding, partnerships, and programmatic successes. Below is a summary of selected accomplishments.
- Community Advanced Practice Nurses received a $30,000 grant from the Mundito Foundation to launch a pilot program using the Community Resiliency Model to teach homeless care providers how to help clients keep their emotions within a functioning range to avoid disruptive emotional responses and exacerbations of mental illnesses.
- The Center for Pan Asian Community Service secured additional funding for mental health services through the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority.
- The International Rescue Committee – Atlanta received $50,000 from Kaiser Permanente of Georgia to expand access to mental health services and mental health literacy education for adults.
- The International Rescue Committee – Atlanta successfully partnered with the Center for Victims of Torture on a grant funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to screen clients for trauma/torture and refer clients for rehabilitative services.
- Mental Health America of Georgia has been awarded a contract from the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to provide 6 regional trainings for the Community Service Boards in Georgia (the safety net for mental health, developmental disability and substance use disorder services management and delivery in Georgia’s Communities) so that their providers would be better equipped to treat women dealing with maternal mental illness.
With data showing that among adults aged 26 to 49, the prevalence of serious mental illness is higher among persons with Medicaid coverage (20.7 percent) and lower among persons with private health insurance (8.1 percent), the project and services provided by the grantees are critical in helping low-income women in metro Atlanta become mentally and physically healthy. When women are mentally and physically secure, they can become financially secure as well – breaking the cycle of poverty and building the foundation for a successful future.
DiShonda Hughes is the Mission Director for The Atlanta Women’s Foundation. She joined the team in 2000, and is responsible for the management and coordination of various grantmaking initiatives and special projects. She has extensive experience in grantmaking in the areas of women’s health, economic justice, homelessness, and prevention of violence against women and girls and has managed the distribution of $14 million to local nonprofits serving women and girls impacted by poverty.